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Honda to Reveal Concept Version of New Insight Hybrid at Paris Show

Insight_concept_001
The Honda Insight Concept.

Honda will reveal a concept version of its new small hybrid vehicle, to be named Insight, at the upcoming 2008 Paris Motor Show (Mondial de l’Automobile) in October. The new Insight Concept shares styling cues with the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle and will provide an early look at the highly-anticipated five-passenger hybrid vehicle.

The original Honda Insight was introduced in December 1999 as the US’ first gasoline-electric hybrid car. The first vehicle to break the 70-mpg fuel economy barrier, Insight, since cancelled, was designed from the ground up to demonstrate the potential for fuel-economy in a two-seater subcompact automobile.

Targeted for sale in the US next spring, the all-new purpose-built Insight will come to market at a price significantly below hybrids available today, according to Honda.

The original Honda Insight pioneered hybrid technology in the US and remains a symbol of Honda’s commitment to innovative technology and fuel efficiency. This new Insight will break new ground as an affordable hybrid within the reach of customers who want great fuel economy and great value.

—Takeo Fukui, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. CEO

The Insight Concept uses a more cost-efficient version of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology. The Insight Concept is designed with a low center of gravity and a generous five-passenger cabin.

The production Insight will be offered as a five-door, five-passenger hatchback. Numerous technologies, including a function to assist customers in achieving more fuel efficient driving habits, will be applied to achieve a further improvement in real world fuel efficiency, said Honda. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at an expanded hybrid vehicle production line at the Suzuka factory in Japan.

Honda expects the Insight to have annual global sales of 200,000 units per year, with approximately 100,000 of those in North America. Following the launch of the new Insight, Honda also plans to introduce another unique sporty hybrid vehicle based on the CR-Z, first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. All together, Honda plans an increase in its global sales of hybrids to approximately 500,000 units a year, or more than 10% of its total worldwide annual automobile sales.

Comments

Wes

KoBushi- Sorry, I should clarify a bit. I don't mean to denigrate the original Insight in any way- but it was a niche product by virtue of being a two-seater. It was brilliant in its own rite, but it was not a "real car" in the sense of being a practical competitor to the family sedan for the masses.

I must also point out that the CRX HF is not more efficient than the Prius. You may be comparing the old test method versus the new test method? Fueleconomy.gov now applies the new standard to older models to allow for direct comparison against new, and shows the 1990 CRX HF at 40 city, 47 highway. Under the new standard the 2004+ Prius is rated 48 city, 45 highway, and the 2000 Insight 49/61.

As for Insight II, I don't think you will get your wish. Keep in mind that it's likely to have more overall environmental benefit at 2800-2900 lb with the features that the mass market expects, rather than being bare-bones and 2500 lb. A 60 mpg car that hardly sells won't have as much environmental benefit as a 50 mpg one that becomes a best-seller.

Wells

Hybrid technology offers benefits and advantages way beyond fuel economy. And I wish some of the regulars here gave more than 2 brain cells worth of effort thinking about it.

This latest Honda hybrid should be recognized as obsolete compared to Toyota/Ford Hybrid Synergy Drive which may convert to the phonemenal next generation Plug-in Hybrid and all that goes with it -- energy conserving household power supply, modernized energy grids, life-saving handling and stability safety improvement, flexible fuels use, considerations regarding manufacturing and implementation, positive affects upon land-use and development that encourages walking, bicycling and practical arrangements for mass transit, etc etc.

If you're not thinking plug-in hybrids, you're not thinking. Or, don't risk wasting those precious 2 brain cells.

Kobushi

Kobushi,

The idea that the Prius is a 'full hybrid' and therefore more complex than a 'mild hybrid' like the Insight is misguided. A Prius is simpler than an Insight. It has no clutch or transmission, like your Insight. Clutches wear out by design. Transmissions are notoriously unreliable and expensive to repair. Your Insight has a traction battery, just like the Prius. Your Insight has an electric motor, the Prius has 2. But electric motors require no maintenance and are extremely reliable.

In practice, the Prius has already proven it is one of the most reliable cars ever built.

Your Insight is a two-seater, compare it to a Smart rather than a Prius.

B.t.w. you know what the most fuel efficient car would be? An Insight with Prius technology.

Anne

Oops, somehow I was half asleep and typed in 'Kobushi' in the field where my name should go. Sorry.

Wells

The most fuel efficient car is the one that you don't have to drive quite so far, quite so often, or even drive at all. And I'm not trying to be facetious.

The plug-in hybrid technology has the affect of directing land-use and development whereby more destinations become accessable without having to drive.

The more pertinent question is how do we cut back on the INSANE amount of driving we do, not whether we make cars more and more fuel efficient.

In Seattle, the State DOT is "rigging" a study that makes decommissioning that city's hideous waterfront freeway impossible. Since the freeway (SR-99 Alaskan Way Viaduct) is dangerously obsolete and must be torn down, WsDOT is "studying" a Surface Boulevard option. But, they're incorporating at least 24 stoplights where are none now. WsDOT need only plan for 5 or 6 stoplights, but 24 will surely kill the surface boulevard option.

Too bad, Seattlers. Automobile-related business interests want to continue profitting from your driving habit and are pulling strings at WsDOT certainly, and probably at all the other regional DOTs as well.

Roger Pham

Thanks, Anne, for posting what I was going to post next.

While the 2 cars are comparable in weight and aerodynamic drag, the Prius II at 45-47 mpg combined is more efficient than the Honda Civic hybrid, with a combined mpg of 37-40 mpg. My Prius consistently gets 52-54 mpg even in the summer with extensive A/C usage. Also, the Prius II accelerates measurably faster than the Civic Hybrid, making this efficient gain even more significant.

I sure hope that Honda can significantly improve the mpg of the next Honda dedicated hybrid to be at least on par with the current Prius, but I don't know how they are gonna do that using existing "mild hybrid" IMA setup?

Tom Holcomb

This is all well and good, but does it have to yet again look like a polished turd? It's my experience that if you ask a million people what the best car in the world is, you're going to get a million people telling you that it's the one in their driveway. So Prius people, I KNOW you love your Prius and maybe it's a fabulous ownership experience, but you honestly don't think it's the ugliest thing to hit the road since the Pontiac Aztek?
Maybe it's a Japanese design culture thing that I (and just about everyone else I know) just don't get, but the look of the average pure hybrid/EV on the road today leads me to believe that the intent of the manufacturer is to fail. Any large purchase like a vehicle is bound to be an emotional experience. Form should follow function, but when $30K is on the line is form too much to ask for as well?
Anyway, the looks of this car, the Prius--any high MPG car for that matter, are the least of my concern. What bothers me even more is the amount of attention automakers are paying to expensive powertrain development and the LACK of attention being paid to what would be even more effective construction evolution and chassis design. The curb weight of a Prius is almost 3000 lb.: heavier than a late '90s Accord!
I'm all for the eventual elimination of fossil fuels from our vehicles, but in the short term it makes sense to do even more for the environment/our wallets with equal or similar levels of investment by moving to existing-but-smaller powerplants and shaving overall vehicle weight significantly. Essentially make cars more like motorcycles, which don't have to look like crap or perform poorly to get incredibly high gas mileage. Advancements in powertrain technology add expense to a vehicle and provide marginal gains in fuel economy only. Advancements in lightweight chassis materials and construction would also add expense to a vehicle, but would provide more than just marginal economy benefits. Vehicle dynamics greatly improve with reduced mass as well (acceleration, cornering ability, braking effectiveness). So you improve efficiency AND fun.
Cars like the Prius are a nice thought, but it's really putting the cart before the horse. Why find new ways to generate the horsepower and torque required to keep people happy in the vehicles that they've become accustomed to when we can instead change the vehicles so that they don't NEED so much power to be equivalent in the first place?

Wells

The participants on this forum are clueless consumers wanting only fun and pretty toys. The powers-that-be who direct the development pattern of their cities and suburbs have hypnotized them and consider them as such. The great advantage of the hybrid is in its potential to serve as an emergency back-up household power system (plug-in) which the establishment does not want the general public to embrace for that reason and others that I've repeatedly listed here for the participants to consider should they ever come to their senses.

I_Vote_for_ForeignOil

I am not a huge fan of these hybrid vehicles. But the real thing I hate is all-electric vehicles. Honda's hybrids still use my expensive fossil fuel garbage that I force down your throats because you're all addicted to oil. Every mile this car is driven the gasoline engine is still running and burning up fuel. I am happy to see so many of you are still stuck on your SUVs and your gas guzzlers.

Please, please, please. Do not ever buy an electric car. I would HATE that! My stranglehold on your economy and your presidents and congress would end if everybody bought an all-electric car. So don't do it. I demand it.

Please continue to buy based on the car ad showing your vehicle racing down closed streets or on a mountain road. You'll never race your car but I am happy that so many of you are so simple minded that this ad makes you buy a gas chugging, smoke churning, environment killing little money maker for us who have investments in foreign oil.

Thank goodness that the new Republican president (to be) is just as smart as me. Mr. McCain will talk a big show just like we all do (have you seen our commercials where big oil companies try to make you believe we want wind power or solar energy?!? Ha ha ha - man are you gullible). In the end nothing will change at all. You'll think the republicans are on your side so you're happy; us wealthy oil investors will KNOW that they're on our side because we'll make more billions. See? Everybody is happy.

Well, that's all for now. Thank you for being suckers who fall for the bs we tell you. My bank account thanks you. I've just bought my 7th mansion because you people are so in love with your gasoline powered vehicles.

Remember, I order you to buy one of these hybrids or a huge car that is far too large and heavy for your needs. Oh, and NEVER, never, never buy an all-electric car. I order you!

bert

Maybe that LED array in the bumper recess has a double function as a battery voltage level indicator? ;)

Kyle

"If I buy an SUV, this will have almost no effect on US foreign policy, so the benefit to me from such savings derived from altering my purchasing habits is essentially nil."

Everybody thinking like that makes a big difference to US foreign policy. That's game theory for you..

Geronimo

...considerations such as the ones you mention are not going to convince the rational economic man.
-Paul F. Dietz:

Brilliant sarcasm :-) I know some people that actually talk this way. LMAO

I remember Bob Lutz of GM talking like that in 2000, saying how they had 'run the numbers' and hybrids were a big loser, they were going to gear up large SUV production. Now GM is bleeding to death, the Hummer is the symbol of a bygone age of cheap gasoline, and they are pretty much betting the company on the Volt due out in 2010. "We might have misjudged the 'emotional' appeal of hybrids" said Bob Lutz, after GM got hammered by rising gasoline prices.

Yes, why can't more American consumers follow classical economics thinking, and look no further than accruing personal benefits, such as more cargo room and higher horsepower ? Which equations indicated that 'personal benefits' like chrome and tailfins were a good idea ? Or a large, 'menacing' grill on the front of an SUV ? 'Fun to drive', 'sexy', 'big', 'fast' - these are all worth many $thousands. 'Fight climate change', 'get ready for skyrocketing gasoline prices', 'support battery technology to get ready for Peak Oil' - no, no, no, no, no, that is not rational, you are only supposed to think about what's good for *you*, *this instant*.

Poor Bob Lutz, nobody reads Adam Smith anymore.

Wells

A Thank you to I-vote-for-foreign-oil for the appraisal of the clueless consumer mind. Most posters here believe that high fuel economy is the solution, nevermind that the environmentally conscious consumer has already gone down that road over the last 30-some years and the result is pretty close to dismal. What's the George Washington Bridge nickname? "The car-strangled spanner" There's just too many cars, period.

Here's why the plug-in hybrid goes even further than a battery-only electric: Because a plug-in hybrid uses a 'minimal' extra battery pack, (6 standard car batteries as opposed to the 12+ needed for a battery-only electric), the limited electric-only range creates an incentive to drive less and patronize local economies, whereby over time more destinations become accessable without having to drive. Walking and bicycling become more viable travel options, and mass transit more practical to arrange.

The most important advantage of an electric drivetrain is its affect upon how communities develop. This idea is a true tiger by the tail. Grab ahold the tiger and don't let go. The US could lead the world on this concept, (our need is greatest), but no doubt our industrial and economic elite prefer to remain in their position of power and control over the majority of US citizens. Keeping them clueless is key.

Albert G

The original high mileage two seater was built for MANY years, starting in 1981: The Volkswagen Rabbit diesel pickup truck. EPA rated, and actual, 50+ mpg highway. Thirty years later we have..... Complicated hybrids hoping to get the same mileage on the highway.

Albert G

The original high mileage two seater was built for MANY years, starting in 1981: The Volkswagen Rabbit diesel pickup truck. EPA rated, and actual, 50+ mpg highway. Thirty years later we have..... Complicated hybrids hoping to get the same mileage on the highway.

Spector

Finally! Well i sounds great and is long overdue, frankly. The biggest questions would be "how affordable?" And what is the MPG. Amazing how we in NA go nuts when a car company announces it will sell us a car that can clear 40 mpg, while our cousins in Europe have been offered even higher efficiency models for years and years. Sheesh. We beg for scraps here.

Anyone know if it will include the aluminum body construction of the original Insight. I doubt so, du to the cost and complexity, but would be great if Honda could make it work.

General Motors/Ford/Chrys beter take a long hard look at this new model.

Spector

Pardon, "it sounds great..."

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